Discussion Papers

No.722 Understanding the ASEAN Way of Regional Qualification Governance:The Case of Service Mutual Recognition Agreements

by Shintaro Hamanaka, Sufian Jusoh

July 2018


There is no doubt that existing studies on Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) are mostly based on the European experience. In this paper, we will introduce the ongoing attempt in ASEAN to establish very unique MRAs, using professional service qualifications, engineering qualifications in particular, as a case study. Several ASEAN professional service qualification MRAs employ “hub-and spoke” model, wherein neither the hub (regional mechanism) nor spokes (national authorities) become powerful over the other. The hub-and-spoke model has features of both harmonization of professional qualifications led by regional mechanisms along with the recognition of partner countries’ qualifications granted by national authorities. Why does ASEAN need a unique MRA governance that has feature of both harmonization and mutual recognition? We will answer this question from multi-disciplinary angles.

Keywords:Mutual recognition agreement (MRA), professional qualifications, the ASEAN way, institutional design of regionalism

JEL classification:F15, F53, F55

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